CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN ADVENT BLOG Wednesday 2nd December 2020
12 RAMBLINGS OF CHRISTMAS
ONLY 23 SLEEPS TO CHRISTMAS
- A CHRISTMAS QUOTE
T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. – Clement Clarke Moore
- CHRISTMAS FEATURE – Making a Gingerbread House by Chantelle JoyI already bought my plane ticket back home for the holidays, wearing a sweater, drinking hot ginger tea, and listening to Christmas music, I am fully ready for the festivities to begin. I was wondering how should I mark the beginning of this magical time of the year, and what better way than printing out a recipe for a Gingerbread house, and attempting to make one from scratch? Forget about those boxes retailers sell around this time, we are making the cookie dough, the templates for cutting, we are putting everything together, decorating the house, and having an existential crisis in between. Let our Christmas cooking festivities begin.The recipe I decided to use was for a ‘’simple’’ Gingerbread House from BBC Good Food.https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/simple-gingerbread-houseFirst step – doing the shopping. In all honesty, growing up I used to cook sweets and cookies with my grandma, but never have I tried doing any of it on my own, so this felt like a solid challenge I was not mentally prepared for.To spare myself the disappointment I bought ready to use cupcake icing so I did not have to make that, everything else in the recipe is homemade.Following the first steps in the recipe, I melted the butter, sugar and the syrup in a pan, mixed the flour with ground ginger and a tiny bit of bicarbonate soda (which I later regretted), and then mixed the two together forming a nice dough. I switched on the oven to preheat it, while cutting out the templates and the dough, placed it on a tray and then I put it in the oven for about 10 minutes, until it looked brown and delicious. Here I changed the recipe a little bit, I decided to add chocolate buttons with glazing into the roof, instead of almonds and I do not regret my decision a single bit (writing this while eating the roof and it is the nicest, crispiest thing on earth).Once you have taken out the cookies and they look nice and delicious, leave them to cool down for a bit, then place them back on the templates and cut around the edges, making sure those crisp edges are in tact. This is the point where I reveal why I regret adding soda, the entire cookies raised up quite a bit which made them thicker than I wish they were, so I grabbed a knife and I tried slicing off some bits making the cookies flatter and nicer to look at. If you decide to follow this step, just be careful you do not break them or make them too thin, as they still have to be able to carry the weight, especially the walls of your house, they need to carry the roof which is extremely steep and heavy.Put generous amounts of glazing on the walls and carefully push them together and hold them for about 30 seconds before releasing to ensure they are fully touching and there is enough glazing to cover any shape irregularities on the cookies. I was being so generous with the icing it ended up on the floor, but YOLO, Christmas cooking is only once a year and lasts about 20 days… Leave the walls to become friends and sing some Christmas songs in the meantime, they will need about 4 hours to be fully ready to carry your poorly shaped, heavy roof.Once you return you can remove the bowl or glass you had placed in the middle to keep the walls of your house in tact (or if you decided to be adventurous like me, you forgot to read that part but it still worked out fine). Now it’s time to sweat and pray to every force on Earth that your structure will survive what’s about to come – your roof panels.Once you manage to place them and they stay put, leave them to sit for another 6-7 hours so they do not move and you can freely express your creativity and decorate your house with candy and more icing.While my house looks nothing like the one from BBC Good Food, I am happy with the results, I decided to push my imagination forward and step down on checking Pinterest and other platforms for “inspiration”. Being experimental and really playing with what you are making is what Christmas cooking is all about.Overall, I would say this is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved ones but be prepared to spend more time than you thought you would initially.I think this is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved ones and those who matter to you. I know it was an amazing way for me to step back and slow down. I hope you enjoyed my little project.
- CHRISTMAS MOVIE
4. CHRISTMAS SONG
- White Christmas Diana Krall 4:30
5. CHRISTMAS CHILDREN’S BOOK
Dogger’s Christmas: A seasonal sequel to the beloved Dogger by Shirley Hughes (Author)
Hardcover : 32 pages
Publisher : Bodley Head
Age Range: 2-7 years old.
A seasonal sequel to one of our most beloved children’s books, voted the public’s favourite Kate Greenaway medal-winner
“Shirley Hughes is a national treasure” Philip Pullman
Over 40 years after Dogger was published, comes this magical follow-up: Dogger’s Christmas.
It’s that special time of year: Christmas.
The time of carol-singing, tree-decorating, and of course lots of presents. But in the excitement of new toys, will Dave forget about his old friend, Dogger?
The very special story of one boy and his beloved toy – who always manages to be found…
Praise for Dogger:
“This is Hughes’ most heartwarming picture book . . . Hughes has a kindly, inexhaustible eye – she misses nothing” Observer
6. CHRISTMAS CAROL
7. IT’S A CRACKER (CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKE)
Why did the turkey cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off!
8. EVERY CHRISTMAS TV TIMES COVER
9. A FAMOUS SCROOGE
10. SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT – A TOP TV CHRISTMAS SPECIAL FROM THE PAST
The Catherine Tate Show – The Catherine Tate Christmas Show
UK/Special/2007Aired on BBC
“The Catherine Tate Christmas Show” Catherine Tate 20 December 2005 5.66m Viewers
“Christmas Special” Catherine Tate, 25 December 2007 6.75m Viewers
The Catherine Tate Show is a British television sketch comedy written by Catherine Tate and Derren Litten. Tate also stars in all but one of the show’s sketches, which feature a wide range of characters. The Catherine Tate Show airs on BBC Two and is shown worldwide through the BBC. Collectively, the show has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards, two British Comedy Awards and an Emmy Award, and it has won two Royal Television Society Awards, two British Comedy Awards and a National Television Award since its debut in 2004.
11. NICE LITTLE CHRISTMAS NUMBER
11 15 – The average age of a Christmas tree when it is sold
12 £1,600,000,000 – The total spent by the UK at Christmas
13 230,000 Tonnes – The amount of wasted Christmas food that is thrown away each year
14 1 – The number of Santa’s reindeer who’s names are taken from the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
15 300 Million – The number of mince pies eaten over Xmas
16 16.6% – The percentage of total US retail sales that are Christmas related
17 83 Square km – The amount of wrapping paper sold in the UK every Christmas
18 60 Million – The number of Christmas trees grown each year in Europe
19 113 Feet – The height of the tallest ever snowman, which was built in Maine, America
20 45.72 Metres – The length of the biggest Christmas cracker ever made. It was also 3.04 meters wide
12. CHRISTMAS TV ADVERT